This is the second facsimile volume of the outstanding Perkins warship recognition set to be released. The publisher and the British National Maritime Museum have committed to publishing a full set of eight facsimile volumes of this unparalleled source of information. Realistically, the cover price, and even the aggressive early sale discounts, will limit the readership of books that will appeal to a very wide audience of professionals, historians, enthusiasts and all with any interest in British warships. If you can find the money, don’t delay but buy today. Very Highly Recommended.
NAME: British Warship Recognition, The Perkins Identification Albums, Volume II Armoured Ships 1860-1895, Monitors and Aviation Ships
AUTHOR: Richard Perkins
PUBLISHER: Pen & Sword, Seaforth
BINDING: hard back
GENRE: Non Fiction
SUBJECT: cruisers, line of battle ships, battleships, armoured warships, shore bombardment, gunnery direction, big guns, fleet engagement, commerce protection, army co-operation, aircraft carriers, seaplane carriers, balloon carriers, flat top, through deck, flying off deck, landing deck, catapult
DESCRIPTION: This is the second facsimile volume of the outstanding Perkins warship recognition set to be released. The publisher and the British National Maritime Museum have committed to publishing a full set of eight facsimile volumes of this unparalleled source of information. Realistically, the cover price, and even the aggressive early sale discounts, will limit the readership of books that will appeal to a very wide audience of professionals, historians, enthusiasts and all with any interest in British warships. If you can find the money, don’t delay but buy today. Very Highly Recommended.
This is a book in a set of volumes to kill for. Richard Perkins produced an outstanding set of volumes that are one of the great treasures of the National Maritime Museum. There is some text in the form of notes and captions, but this is a visual celebration of the British development and deployment of armoured ships, the smaller coastal monitors that carried big battleship guns, and the aviation ships that were eventually to replace the armoured line of battle ship as THE capital ships of the Royal Navy.
In producing this fine set of volumes of a unique work, the publishers have provided the means for a number of libraries and individuals to obtain their own copies of the magnificent set of originals held by the National Maritime Museum. Although the cover price may restrict the circulation, it is a very competitive price for volumes that have been produced as faithful facsimiles of the original. No expense has been spared in production to achieve this objective.
The author took great trouble in producing fine side views of the ships detailed in colour. He also provided views at different stages of the life of each ship, where technology was updated during refits to meet changing combat needs. Having produced excellent images, the author provided appropriate notes with dates and details of modifications. This is the entrancing visual presentation that has captivated readers of all ages in warship recognition books, where, of the genre, this is the outstanding work without direct competition.
The first section of this volume presents the armoured ships that from 1860 to 1895 replaced the wooden sailing capital ships that had changed little since the days of Nelson. The work covers virtually every Royal Navy warship of this type during the period. Omissions are very rare. There are also funnel details that can make a noticeable difference to ships of the same class.
The capital ships are followed by monitors. This class of ship has received limited coverage, although the Royal Navy had a considerable number built during the period. The monitor follows the USN concept of their armoured turret ship that was built to counter a Confederate vessel during the American Civil War. At that time most USN warships were wooden sailing ships with broadside cannon in a layout little changed over two hundred years. The USS Monitor was armoured with a turret containing two very large muzzle-loading canon and powered by steam. It had very limited freeboard that made it unsuitable for operation in bad weather or beyond coastal waters. The development of the armoured warship rapidly produced true ocean-going warships that employed steam power in addition to a full sailing rig or as the exclusive motive power. The armament was initially still mounted in broadside on gun decks, but progressively became barbet or turret mounted and breech-loading. At the same time, the number of different calibres reduced to the point where the revolutionary HMS Dreadnought carried only one calibre of main gun, all in armoured turrets, marking the transition from the period covered in this volume and the high speed battleships of WWI and WWII.
Where the monitor came in was as a shore bombardment vessel that could carry a small number of large guns in a relatively small hull, with a shallow draught to allow it to close the coast. There was variation in size and some monitors carried one or two guns of up to 6in calibre, similar to the guns arming cruisers. Most Royal Navy monitors were equipped with a single turret that was equipped with two guns of 10in to 15in calibre, of the type fitted of battleships of the same period. With the introduction of the torpedo boat and torpedo boat destroyer, most monitors featured an increased secondary armament for defence and this was eventually modified for anti-aircraft defence. As with all the gun vessels presented in this volume, the period of 1860-1895 covers the design and construction of armoured warships and, in the case of monitors, includes vessels built during WWI, when the monitor was an important shore bombardment system augmenting guns ashore. Many of these vessels continued on in service and some even took part in WWII.
The third section covers aviation vessels and the distinction is that the section is not confined to aircraft carriers. What it does not include are those vessels used in the extensive RN trials of man carrying kites from 1903-1908, when vessels from whalers to destroyers, to armoured cruisers, to battleships, were used to tow man-carrying kites in conditions from calm to 40 knots. However, the author has covered balloon ships. These vessels carried gas balloons that were used for observation and gunnery direction, often where in WWI they were directing the guns of monitors and other warships in shore bombardment. The exceptions are HMS Canning (1915-1919), HMS Manica and HMS City of Oxford, which are described as kite balloon carriers. The section then details the many innovative vessels that were used in the development and deployment of naval aviation. The Royal Navy made a unique contribution to the development of naval aviation and pioneered almost all of the important developments that were then adopted by other navies. This book provides possibly the finest presentation of naval aviation ships in the period of four decades when they completely changed the face of naval warfare and replaced the big-gun battleship as the premier naval weapon.
The author was not only a unique illustrator and historian, but an early member of the naval photographers club. He was creating material at a time when warship and aircraft recognition were considered of prime importance and publishers produced all sorts of recognition books, including low cost pocket books that were common Christmas and birthday presents for young boys, inspiring their later career choices. It is a type of book that is now rarely produced. This is a great shame because so much information is presented and compared in a way that other books fail to do.
This is another fine book that prompts this reviewer to complain about the neglect of public lending libraries. A great many readers would love the opportunity to read this remarkable book and benefit from its unique information. Its necessary cover price will prevent many of these potential readers from accessing a copy unless it can be found in lending libraries. Some will argue that the answer is to produce an eBook version but this is one of a number of books that has much greater value as a printed paper volume that is read once or twice from cover to cover and then placed on a shelf to be taken down many times as a reference source. An electronic version would be limited by the available display screens.